Step into Spring with a guided walk around a nature reserve noted for its amazing woodland flora including carpets of bluebells.
The walk is on Saturday, April 13 around Old Sulehay Nature Reserve – one of the last remnants of the ancient Rockingham Forest.
It is being organised by our friends at the Wildlife Trust and led by Reserves Officer Ian Hilbert.
Park and meet at Ring Haw Field Station, off Sulehay Road, Yarwell at 2pm for an introduction to the reserve and its management, followed by a walk around the wood looking at the spring flowers, and the most interesting old trees. The walk will be over by around 4pm.
Please bring sturdy footwear and clothing for the weather, plus anything else you may need for our walk, such as a stick, camera and binoculars. Donations to support the reserve management work are welcome.
Contact Rachel Price on 07734 478466
About the reserve
The reserve’s website states: Old Sulehay Forest is a fragment of the ancient Rockingham Forest, a royal hunting forest that extended from Wansford to Kettering.
In summer, glow-worms glimmer in the longer grass. Many wildflowers found here are rare in Northamptonshire, including ploughman’s-spikenard, wild thyme, viper’s bugloss, common cudweed and yellow-wort. These attract a wide range of butterflies, such as common blue, brown argus and dingy skipper. On warm spring days look for the energetic grizzled skipper in Stonepit Close, on the disused railway or the Calcining Banks.
Areas of scrub support birds such as whitethroat and bullfinch. Great and lesser spotted woodpeckers live in the woodland along with nuthatch and treecreeper. Invertebrates thrive on the sun-warmed paths and rides.
To maintain the varied habitat structure most of the grassland is grazed with rare-breed sheep and cattle to maintain low soil fertility. Using wildflower seeds collected from other limestone grassland sites in the area, Sammock’s Hill was restored from arable land. It now boasts a variety of native flowers, including cowslips, bird’s-foot trefoil, knapweed broomrape and pyramidal orchids.
How to get there
Directions and access
From the roundabout on A47 outside Wansford village (west of the junction with the A1) enter Wansford and drive down the hill to a staggered junction. At the junction turn right and then the second left towards Yarwell. Drive to the crossroads outside of Yarwell village and turn right onto the Sulehay Road. On reaching a sharp bend in the road, turn left off the road and drive along the right-hand track through the reserve to the Field Station (do not take the left-hand track as it is unsuitable for vehicles). There are three field gates on the access track that are only open when events are being held onsite.
The Field Station is accessible via an ironstone track from the bend in Sulehay Road. As the track runs through the nature reserve, all vehicles users must adhere to the following instructions:
Speed limit is 5 mph
Give way to people and wildlife
Stop and look at each gateway
The Field Station can be reached via the access track, through kissing gates located next to each of the field gates at anytime (as the reserve is open access to the public). Please be aware that the track is used by vehicles for site management and events.
Vehicles may park along the hedge-line, opposite the building. Do not block access to any entrances.
Disabled parking is located at the far end of the building by the Sun room (conservatory).